With the 49th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Jace Amaro, tight end out of Texas Tech.
The former Red Raider is coming off the best year of his career, dominating every defense he was pitted against. Amaro easily beat out all other tight ends in most receiving categories, and even ranked above most receivers in the FBS. Here were his career stats at Texas Tech:
Jace Amaro was never really the premier tight end for the Red Raiders until last season, but he more than proved he was able to succeed. His 106 receptions beat all FBS tight ends by at least 44 receptions (Eric Ebron was 2nd with 62) and 379 receiving yards (Ebron was 2nd with 973).
Amaro further made his case to the NFL at the Combine, proving his athleticism in each and every event. Amaro finished top 5 for all tight ends in the 40 yard dash (4.74 seconds), bench press (28 reps), vertical jump (33 inches), broad jump (118 inches), 20 yard shuttle (4.30 seconds), and the 60 yard shuttle (12.26 seconds). Wow.
Whenever one sees a college player whose stats are inflated as Amaro’s, one must be concerned about the level of play that he was up against. However, Amaro proved that he can succeed against some of the best teams in college football. Against the five Top 25 teams Texas Tech played in 2013, Jace Amaro averaged 8.8 receptions for 111.4 yards, and totaled 3 touchdowns in those five games.
The new Jets tight end has an enormous frame, a 6’5″ 265 pound monster that is bound to create mismatches in the Jets’ favor. Amaro is an extremely gifted athlete, who has the ability to maximize his size and athleticism to its fullest potential.
Jace Amaro is a phenomenal pass-catcher, with the hands to bring in almost any pass. At Texas Tech, the second-round draft pick proved he can make his quarterback look good as he has the ability to compensate for inaccurate passes. Amaro will be able to bail out Geno Smith on several occasions, something that Geno will look gladly upon after a 21 interception rookie campaign.
Another highlight of Amaro’s play is his ability to make plays after the catch. Looking back at the former Red Raider’s highlights, we see him barrel through defenders and breaking tackles left and right. Jace Amaro can consistently turn 5 yard receptions into 20 yard receptions, an attribute that the Jets will find extremely beneficial.
However, the Texas Tech alum is no perfect player either. The biggest flaw to Amaro’s play is that he is extremely one-dimensional. Jace Amaro would line up off the line of scrimmage as a slot receiver almost 90% of the time, and when he was lined up on the line of scrimmage he was irrelevant and had trouble breaking off the line to either block or run a route. For the Jets, Amaro will have to play a similar role to what he did in college, otherwise success will be hard to find.
Also, Jace Amaro’s route running can still be improved. Although his route running is decent enough already, he often times relied on his size to create separation from the defender rather than his routes, which will be difficult to get away with at a professional level. Amaro stands up too much in his routes and he does not dip his hips into his cuts.
Finally, Amaro has proven in the past that he can be a problem both on and off the field. in 2012, he was ejected from Texas Tech’s Bowl Game for punching another player. Later that offseason, Amaro was arrested for credit card fraud. Fortunately, Amaro has been mishap free since then, although it is still a concern.
Bottom line, the Jets drafted a highly productive receiving tight end who should pay dividends to the team’s passing attack. Although there is room for improvement, Amaro is still raw and can improve greatly with proper coaching.
Assuming Jace Amaro is an instant starter, we should see him making plays in green and white just like he did in red and black come September.